In 1890 William Robert Phelan was appointed headteacher at Balmattum, a rural area north of Euroa in north-east Victoria. He was 29 years old, the son of an Irish Catholic family in Coburg, a northern suburb of Melbourne. He's my husband's great-grandfather.
Seven years later, in 1897, he married a local girl. Maggie was the daughter of Daniel and Christina McKernan, prominent residents of the area. Daniel was also Irish-born but Protestant, as was his Scottish wife. Maggie was 24 and William was 36. They were married at Maggie's home, the 'Royal Hotel' . The Royal was a combined hotel, post office, general store and residence for about forty-five years. It is now a private residence called 'Hawthorn House' and is owned by a descendant of Daniel and Christina McKernan.
Mixed marriages (as in Catholic-Protestant) were unusual at the time so I'm not sure how it came about and I wonder of what their parents and the community thought of it. William was never a practising Catholic so that may have helped.
|William Phelan and Maggie McKernan wedding, Balmattum, Victoria 1897|
|Jane and Daniel Phelan|
|Christina McKernan (nee Gordon)|
The wedding was reported in great detail. including a list of all the presents. Apparently the wedding was a 'scene of great excitement', there were about 100 guests and the room was beautifully decorated.
|Euroa Advertiser, 15 Jan 1897|
You can see more delightful wedding photos over at Sepia Saturday.